We’re in this together

graphic+for+Whitney+Downing+Column

graphic by Leah Jamison

Hello everyone and happy week four of Wednesdays with Whit!

Did you know that this week marks the 21st annual Survivor of Suicide Loss Day here in the United States?

For the past two decades, the Saturday before Thanksgiving has been a day of remembrance where the family and friends of those who’ve lost their loved ones to suicide join together to bring forth healing and hope.

Although many things are different this year because of COVID-19, I know one thing for certain, it helps to share your pain and grief with people who can understand.

I have been thinking a lot lately about those who have experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide. I so badly wish that I could sit across from you at a table and listen to everything that you want and need to share.

I’d like to encourage anyone reading this who may be quiet about their struggle to reach out for help and support. You see, I spent so many years struggling in silence.

Do you want to know what happened when I began to be honest about my pain, though? People listened. I believed the lie for so long that people did not care about me.

I now have a support system that has gradually been built around me. I have a safety plan that is hung on my living room wall. I’m no longer silent about my pain. Instead, I reach out for help when I need it.

I do these things because I finally believe that hope is real and that help is available.

Friends, brain health is just as important as physical health. If you need help or resources, please reach out to someone.

If you know someone is struggling and may feel unable to or is scared to reach out, please do your absolute best to reach IN to that person.

Here are a few ways you can reach into a loved one:

  • Ask simple and direct questions about how they are doing.
  • Validate their feelings.
  • Help them find support.
  • Assure them that you are there for them.
  • Tell them things you like about them.
  • Talk to them about their interests.
  • Make them laugh 😊
  • Let your loved one know that you’ll be there for them whether they say they need you or not.

That last point has proven to be extremely beneficial in my life. I am eternally grateful for the people who notice when something is off with me and reach in.

Well, that wraps up Wednesdays with Whit for the week! I hope that the rest of your week is great, and I look forward to the next Wednesdays with Whit.